The Champagne house of Frerejean Frères may not be a familar name, established only in 2005 in Champagne’s Côte des Blancs village of Avize. Though the house cannot boast hundreds of years of history like a Gosset or Ruinart, there is heritage here. The frères in question are Guillaume, Richard and Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger. Though their father’s family was from a long line of canon makers who helped arm France during the Napoleonic Wars, their mother is part of the Taittinger family, and the three boys grew up among the vines of Champagne.
The brothers have turned back to Champagne having worked in other sectors, now splitting their time between Paris and Avize. In charge of winemaking is Chef de Cave, Didier Pierson, a highly experience Champagne consultant and winemaker and native of Avize. Pierson has also worked in the UK, planting Meonhill vineyard in Hampshire, and consulting to Hambledon as part of his business.
Frerejean Frères works exclusively with Grand and Premier Cru parcels of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all from the Côte des Blancs. Vines are old, at least 40 years old, but with some parcels dating back to the 1920s. In the cellar there’s a low sulphur and also low dosage regime, with wines here classed either Extra Brut (maximum 6g/l of sugar) or towards the lower end of the Brut scale.
Long-cellaring is another part of the recipe here; at least six years before disgorgement for all wines, and eight years for vintage wines. That might be part of the reason these wines appealed to me. All showed the light oxidation and maturity of their long cellaring (not sure if there is any barrel fermentation too?), and despite all having a low dosage, a real ripeness and fruit sweetness showing through too. That combination of toastiness and autolytic development, along with the ripeness and clean, clear acidity, makes for a pleasing combination.